Swarms of drones could soon be lurking silently beneath the waves

Credit: Knox News

Soon to be officially proposed by DARPA (or the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, for the uninitiated), Project Hydra will be a drone-launching unmanned submarine. Repeat: drone-launching drones. If this project comes to fruition, DARPA's engineers might just have jumped the shark.

Like its ancient Greek namesake, the Hydra is a monster capable of springing multiple heads from a single body. But while the ancient Greek critter simply grew new serpentine heads, DARPA's Hydra will be a little more versatile.

Being an unmanned submarine itself, Hydra will easily be capable of launching other, smaller Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs). But the real kicker is the Hydra's capability to launch Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Any target of the Hydra's assault could very rapidly find itself surrounded not only by a school of water-bound robo-subs, but also a flock of their airborne brethren.

A system like that would easily be able to accomplish DARPA's goal for the Hydra: to stealthily respond to threats across the globe without endangering the life of a single U.S. soldier. It also sounds pretty terrifying. Hydra is still in a pre-prototype phase, but you can rest assured that DARPA engineers will bring its awesome potential into reality. At that point, the sea will become home to swarms of stealth drones, capable of mass destruction on land, sea or air. 

DARPA (PDF), via sUAS News

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